Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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FORESTAIR, n. Also †forstair (Mry. 1730 Elgin Kirk-Session Rec. (ed. Cramond 1897) 327). An open outside stair leading to the first floor of a building. Gen.Sc., now mostly in describing old buildings. Sc. 1703  Chrons. Atholl and Tullibardine Families I. 505:
The horses run themselves against a fore staire near Cammel's land and stopped.
Edb. 1734  Caled. Mercury (11 July):
Comprehending an Hall, two Chambers, a Laigh House, a Fore-stair, Cellar, two Shops or Booths.
Bnff. 1775  in W. Cramond Ann. Banff (S.C.) I. 323:
James Alexander has erected a forestair adjoining the South front of his new house.
Sc. 1818  Scott Rob Roy xiv.:
Sae mony royal boroughs yoked on end to end, . . . with their hie-streets, . . . and houses of stane and lime and forestairs.
Sc. 1825  R. Chambers Trad. Edb. II. 181:
A fore stair, . . . now almost extinct, consisting of a flight of steps, ascending from the pavement to the second flat of the mansion and protruding a considerable way into the street.
Fif. 1894  J. Geddie Fringes of Fife x.:
The red-tiled, steep-ridged houses crowding together and turning their crow-stepped gables and forestairs to the street and their backs to the blast.
Edb. 1931  E. Albert Herrin' Jennie 134:
The mediaeval forestair . . . decorated the outside wall much in the manner that a companion-ladder graces the side of a ship.
Sc. 1951  Hist. Mon. Comm., City of Edb. 77:
The forestair leads from the Lawnmarket to a landing beneath the corbelling previously mentioned, whence a low doorway on the right admits to the first floor.

[O.Sc. forestare, id., from 1508.]

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"Forestair n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Feb 2019 <>



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